Review of Philosophy and Psychology

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 499-517

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Early Social Cognition: Alternatives to Implicit Mindreading

  • Leon de BruinAffiliated withInstitute for Philosophy II, Ruhr-University of Bochum Email author 
  • , Derek StrijbosAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, Radboud University Nijmegen
  • , Marc SlorsAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, Radboud University Nijmegen


According to the BD-model of mindreading, we primarily understand others in terms of beliefs and desires. In this article we review a number of objections against explicit versions of the BD-model, and discuss the prospects of using its implicit counterpart as an explanatory model of early emerging socio-cognitive abilities. Focusing on recent findings on so-called ‘implicit’ false belief understanding, we put forward a number of considerations against the adoption of an implicit BD-model. Finally, we explore a different way to make sense of implicit false belief understanding in terms of keeping track of affordances.